Adam Scott speaks about his equipment, including his timely shaft change prior to Riviera and why he often practices with putters he won’t be putting in play
Adam Scott has played professional golf for two decades and has been associated with Titleist for all of them. The talented Aussie has a major to his credit at the 2013 Masters and just added the Genesis Invitational to his list of PGA Tour wins. Scott spoke with GolfDigest.com (as well as three other golf media outlets) on a conference call about his equipment, including the timely shaft change he made prior to Riviera, why he isn’t making any changes due to the elevation this week in Mexico and why he often likes to practice with putters he knows he won’t be putting in play.
In speaking with the Titleist guys they told us about your driver shaft change and tour rep JJ VanWezenbeeck spoke a little bit about how you said you had lost some head feel. Could you expand on what you meant and what about the TS4 driver appeals to you?
Without getting too much into the background of it all, the equipment has come so far since I turned pro and I’ve played Titleist my entire career, this is my 20th year with them. The DNA of my golf swing has had to adapt as changes in equipment have been made. The difference in what we’re playing now versus when I turned pro is quite a bit. I played a 137-gram shaft with a small 975D head at 43.5 inches. Now it’s 45 inches with a 460cc head and a shaft that weighs about half as much. There’s a lot of adapting, albeit gradual. But I’ve always liked feeling where the clubhead is and as the drivers have gotten bigger and the center of gravity goes back, you lose some of that face awareness, but you gain face stability. Finding that balance led me to the TS4 last year which has a slightly smaller head which let me feel the head a little more than the TS3. As for the shaft, I’ve pretty much used the [Mitsubishi] Kuro Kage or the Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8 shaft since 2010. They’re my two go-to shafts. As we increased the head week last week to feel the head even more, just having that slightly more stout tip in the Kuro Kage seemed to balance out the extra head weight and the load that would put on the shaft and it married up pretty nicely. I was feeling all the speed at impact and the strike was in the middle more often and more efficient.
You’re still using the 680 muscleback blades. When did you start using those irons and what is it about them that you love so much?
I used them when they came out in 2003, 2004 and I had some 681s as well back then. Then I used AP2s for a while when they first came out and then the 710 blade, which I won the Masters with. But as that iron progressed it got a little further away from my comfort level so I fell back in to the 680s. I like offset and they have a little bit of that along with a longer blade and a higher toe. They’re less boxy and less symmetrical. The irons are made so beautifully now but it’s a little different than what I grew up looking at. Not a lot of guys play offset out here but that’s what I grew up with and the 680s have it. I also like the leading edge and sole design and the turf interaction that comes with it. That’s a big thing for me. It’s quite a sharp edge and it keeps me shallow coming into the ball and I know if I get too steep the club is going to stick in the ground a little bit. So it helps me keep my swing where I like it.
You sometimes use a three-wedge system or a four-wedge system depending on the course. Can you explain how that process goes and do you find you’re in the four-wedge system more now.
I’m pretty much in the four wedges now which is 48, 52, 56, and 60 degrees. I am using the SM8s now. That’s based on having a closer look at the statistics and how golf courses are playing. When I saw there was a certain amount of wedges into greens it was better to have four because it made the gapping easier to manage. TPC was a big example as I felt I was at a disadvantage with only three so I was hitting a lot of half wedges instead of having a perfect number all the time. The only time I move away from four is when I go to a links golf course. When you get to the Open Championship loft becomes your enemy a little bit and you want to keep the ball on the ground a little more so an extra iron goes in at the top end.
You do a lot of putter testing week to week, long putters, short putters, etc. How do you ultimately decide which putter to use and how did the Scotty Cameron Xperimental that you used at Riviera get into the bag?
Sometimes I like practicing with a putter I know I’m not going to use. That way when I go back [to my gamer] for the tournament it feels fresh and new. It’s a little bit of the mind games that I have to play with myself to get the best performance. I like putting around with the short putter and I feel like I’m getting good with it and then I go back to the long better and I find I’m much better with that. It’s the reassurance I need. There are some theories and tests that I do and I’m always looking for the best putter for me, but I’ve worked closely with Scotty Cameron and his team for the last seven, eight years since I went to the long putter. That was a challenge for them at the start because they weren’t making many long putters. The Xperimental I used after the anchor ban when I cut it down shorter and found it performed very well unanchored. That putter was developed after winning the Masters and getting to No. 1 and refining the Futura-style putter I was using at that point.
This week playing in Mexico with the elevation, are there any equipment changes you’re making because of that?
No. The best way to tackle this is to get on the range and find out how far you hit everything—get some new numbers to work with. It makes it a little harder on the golf course because I’m probably not going to be able to memorize them exactly the first couple days. It’s really extreme altitude here and the trickiest thing is your 5-iron might go 240 yards here, but if you knock it down or hit it a little softer the ball doesn’t get up in the air and it might go 25 to 30 yards shorter which is a pretty big gap compared to what it would be at sea level, where the difference might only be 10 yards, so it’s a week where you might want to play your full yardages more often than not.
On the PGA Tour most weeks there is plenty of equipment to try in the vans or from reps. What’s the equipment scene like when you’re playing in Australia?
It’s very different. Without being biased, Titleist covers the tour better than anyone in Australia. But it is different. The biggest challenge is having the equipment to be able to do any adjustments at the golf course. We don’t have vans like there is in the States and in Europe and in Asia. We’re left more to what the [host] golf club has to offer. You have to be prepared. If you’re looking to make a change you need to do that in advance and have it ready to go. But that’s generally what I try to do on the PGA Tour. JJ and the Titleist team is really here as backup for me if something goes wrong that we weren’t thinking about. I try to do all my changing and testing away from the tour and be ready to play when I get out here.